October 2021 Newsletter

Term 2021-2022 | Issue 2 | October 2021

Steve Says

Dear Students and Families,

There’s a lot to celebrate, as we reflect on the first quarter and look ahead to the winter term. Top of the list is safety and wellbeing; we have had no significant health issues with regard to Covid, and we remain confident in our mitigation strategy and ability to keep everyone at school safe. Happily, too, the rate of transmission in the DC area is dropping, which doesn’t mean we’ll change or relax our school safety protocols, but it does mean that our larger community and families are less vulnerable. 

Exhibitions were also a highlight of this first quarter. Each day, through interactions with students, teachers and parents, I’m reminded of how wonderful it is to be at school, and watching the students present and support one another as they responded to their classes’ essential questions was an affirmation of our culture of inquiry and student-to-student goodwill and mutual support. 

Also: Billy became a dad! Billy and his wife, Katie, welcomed their first child, Emma, on September 30th. I can’t imagine teaching Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity while chronically sleep deprived, but somehow Billy did it. Who knows, maybe it even made more sense coming from a man with his head somewhat in outer space. We’re delighted to welcome Emma into the world.   

And finally, there was the Halloween party and dance, masterminded by the student government. Who better to create the student life of the school than the students themselves? A huge thank you to the student government — and our chaperones, Shannan, Austin, Henry and Kara — for making such a special event happen. 
 Here’s to the start of the second quarter!


Thank You for Supporting Teachers

The Teacher Wish List was fully funded in less than a week, raising $11,198! Thank you to all of the amazing donors who made this happen.

Wish List items are already making their way into the hands of teachers and students. We’ll keep posting pictures and videos as they come in. You can already see how the Dance Exercise class has been benefiting from their new ballet barres.

Thank you for all of your generosity and support!

A New School Year: 2018-2019

We’re happy to present the inaugural edition of The New School’s annual magazine, A New School Year: 2018-2019!


The goal of this magazine is to give you a glimpse into what happens during a year at The New School. You’ll see things like the types of exhibitions that happened, the performances that were staged, the clubs that students led, how The New School community supported teachers and students throughout the year, and so much more. You can even see a small sampling of student work, including art, photography, writing, and Science and Math projects.

The articles included were written by students, teachers, staff, current parents, and alumni parents. The front and back covers of the print version were designed by 2019-2020 New School Development & Marketing Graphic Design Intern, Surya Punjabi, Class of 2020.

Putting this magazine together has been a labor of love, and the pandemic caused the release to be delayed, so we’re very excited to finally be sharing it with you. Getting this first one off the ground was definitely a learning experience, with some speed bumps along the way, but the end result was worth it.

You can access the online edition via the link above or under the Community menu of https://www.newschoolva.org/.


Perfecting the Pollinator Garden (by Meg Hunter)

We used the Enviroscape to explore how land use directly affects our community’s soil and water.

Pollinators are immensely important to the ecosystem, playing a crucial role in helping trees and flowers grow. However, with our modern world being full of pollution, and growers caring more about producing as much produce as possible than staying in tune with natural rhythms, pollinators can often become neglected. So people who care about the environment work to attract pollinators native to their homes and provide them with good habitats via pollinator gardens. As The New School has always made efforts to be environmentally conscious, we have a pollinator garden of our own. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a Gardening Club that worked to take care of the pollinator garden, but it fell into disrepair during quarantine since there was no one here to tend it, with weeds growing and plants dying. After our return to school, Virginia, Rachel, and others began working to clear these out and cultivate the healthy plants-mainly aster and milkweed, two native perennials. 

Now, following Virginia’s retirement, most of the work is being done by students in Rachel’s Morning Mod, Perfecting the Pollinator Garden, of which I am a part. We pulled up large swaths of grass, which had grown in overabundance, and provided a stake to hold up a drooping aster plant. However, the bulk of our work has been testing the soil for various things in preparation for planting new plants there. 

We determined that our soil was silty loam, and was only slightly moist, with some areas actually being dry. It had an average pH (number of hydrogen ions) of 7.1, a porosity (percentage of pores) of 23%, and an average nitrate level of 8.75. The pH result was nice and neutral, but our nitrate was low, making the addition of fertilizer necessary. 

As part of our exhibitions, we planted more aster and milkweed, as well as some basil and other herbs. Hopefully, our pollinator garden will return to its former glory as a thriving habitat for plants and for pollinators.

Ada Lovelace – The First Computer Programmer (by Sarosh Parvez)

Now, some of you going into Computer Science may have wondered, “Wow, programming is an absolute nightmare! I wonder what whoever created programming had to suffer through with these machines that don’t understand anything that we try telling them?” This section of this newsletter…won’t answer that question, but it will talk about the person who is widely considered as the world’s first computer programmer. Her name…is Ada Lovelace, if you didn’t figure it out already from the title. 

Born in 1815, Ada was the daughter of the famous poet George Gordon Byron, also known as Lord Byron, and mathematician Annabella Milbanke Byron, or Lady Byron. Unfortunately for Ada, her parents would separate two months after she was born, and she grew up ultimately never knowing her father personally. Afraid that Ada would become more like her father, Lady Byron raised her with the three things people especially need in their lives: logic, science, and math (well you only really need one of those things specifically). As a child, Ada had a liking towards machines, making steam flying machines and gazing over diagrams of new inventions that came from The Industrial Revolution — you know, something everyone does at her age!

Ada had become quite a skilled mathematician over the years of being taught by several tutors and self-teaching. Jumping 18 years into the future, she was introduced by a mutual friend to Charles Babbage, a pretty well respected mathematician known for his unfinished work on gigantic clockwork calculating machines. Lovelace was fascinated by a new project that he was working on called “The Analytical Engine.” While it was never built (Babbage might have been a pretty lazy guy), the design of the engine had all of the essential components of a modern computer, including an operating system (OS) like Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s iOS, or totally the best OS of all time, Google’s Chrome OS. Anyways, what Lovelace was able to do with Babbage’s design was expand on it, even publishing an article based on the design. The article itself contains early “computer programs”, as well as strikingly predictive observations on the possible functions of the machine, including the manipulation of symbols and the creation of music. While Babbage was able to map out what the Analytical Engine was, Lovelace’s notes elaborate and complete his vision, therefore leading to her being deemed “the first computer programmer.” Lovelace married William King in 1835, who was later appointed as Earl of Lovelace in 1838, which is how she became known as Ada Lovelace. However, at only the age of 36, Ada Lovelace passed away due to cancer, only a few years after her article on the Analytical Engine was published. 

While the Analytical Engine was still just an idea, even after Lovelace elaborated upon it in her article, her notes served as a major inspiration of mathematician Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s. They even inspired Charles Babbage himself, with him describing Lovelace as “that Enchantress who has thrown her magical spell around the most abstract of Sciences and has grasped it with a force which few masculine intellects could have exerted over it,” basically saying that she was really good at science compared to a lot of men at the time. Lovelace’s work still inspires people today, with the technology company NVIDIA naming their next-generation graphics cards as the Ada Lovelace GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), or the ‘AD102’ GPUs. There is even an international celebration for her known as Ada Lovelace Day (ALD), that celebrates the achievements of and increases the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), creating new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM. In short, not only is Lovelace the first computer programmer, but her passion and vision for technology have made her a powerful symbol for modern women in the field. 

Find Us on Facebook and Instagram!

Follow us on Facebook at @NSNVA and on our re-launched Instagram page at @thenewschoolva

You’ll see photos from classes, events, performances, and more as well as updates about the school and event invitations. Be sure to check us out!

Happenings at The New School

The school year is off to a great start! We enjoyed Community Time, Quarter 1 Exhibitions, a Halloween party, and a Masquerade among other things. 

New School Bonus Programs

Here are six easy ways to support The New School while you shop, and have a big impact for students and teachers:

AmazonSmile works with your existing Prime account and donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases when you select The New School as your charity: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/82-1288652

Through CauseNetwork, some of your favorite online stores will donate a portion of every purchase you make to The New School.  You can sign up at: https://newschoolva.causenetwork.com/

Download the BoxTops app to start scanning your grocery store receipts to automatically find and add products to our earnings online. This video shows you how to scan and submit your receipts.

If you do your grocery shopping online, you can submit your email receipts from select retailers. All you have to do is create a BoxTops account and forward your email receipt to receipts@boxtops4education.com. Visit this site to learn more.

Traditional Box Tops clips may continue to be found on many products. You can still clip them and send them to the school until they expire.

Through Harris Teeter’s “Together in Education” program, when you buy HT brand items, a percentage of those purchase dollars goes back to The New School. This includes purchases made at HT pharmacies.

Go to www.harristeeter.com to link your VIC card today. VIC cards need to be relinked each school year.

New School TIE Code: 5713

At Office Depot, when you provide our school ID at checkout, The New School will receive 5% back in credits for FREE supplies. You can even link an existing rewards card to the school.

Just provide our school ID at checkout, in store and online: 70103652

Save money and donate to The New School at the same time by shopping through DealAid. Through our DealAid link, you’ll find coupons to use at your favorite online retailers. When you use a coupon, money is donated to The New School. Shop through this link to support the school today: https://bit.ly/newschooldealaid

Thank you for your support!

If you have any questions about these programs, contact our Director of Development & Community Engagement, Noelle Andreano, at nandreano@newschoolva.org.

Increase the Impact of Your Donation

Many corporations offer matching gift programs for employees and their families. This is a great opportunity to increase your gift in support of The New School. You can check with your employer’s human resources department to find out if they offer matching gifts.  This information can also often be found in the list of benefits provided to you by your employer.  Please let us know what you need from us in order to process a match through your organization.  

Contact our Director of Development & Community Engagement, Noelle Andreano, at nandreano@newschoolva.org with any questions.

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